Better Luck Next Year

The Shir Hadash Men’s Club has an annual Latke and Comedy dinner; members are asked to bring six or more latkes, and the club also orders sandwiches. It’s a fun event, even if it’s not diet-safe.

The last time we had the event in person was 2019; I brought Trader Joe’s frozen latkes which I had heated in the oven. They were pretty blah, if I do say so myself.

But that was before the pandemic, before I did much cooking, and before I owned an All-Clad skillet. So I decided to bring Trader Joe’s frozen latkes again, but this time, I’d pan-fry them!

They fit perfectly in my 12-inch skillet.

I followed the directions faithfully, but the latkes lost their integrity when I turned them.

I brought them anyway. They did not win the popularity contest.

I’m hoping to do better next year – advice welcome!

An Experiment

I spend a lot of time working at the laptop on my kitchen desk; it’s where I do most of my email, some of my photo editing, and far too much of my social media. It’s open almost all the time, except on days (like today) when our housecleaner is here – closing the laptop is part of our pre-cleaning cleanup.

Usually, I open the laptop almost as soon as we get back home, but I didn’t do that today. Nor did I open it during lunch preparation. Nor after our post-lunch walk.

Instead, I sat down at the computer in the office to catch up with Quicken; it had been a couple of months, so there was a lot of work to do. Something about being in a different place discouraged me from opening Facebook, Mastodon, my RSS reader, or even my email. I finished all of what I’d planned to do for the whole day in the 90 minutes I had before we started making dinner.

I think I should close the laptop more often.

Be sure to count your candles!

While we were shopping at Target last week, I noticed that they had a surprisingly large display of Hanukkah goods, including candles. I asked Diane if we needed them for this year and she said “no, we have a box”, so we left them on the shelf.

Last night, we opened the box and discovered that we’d raided it last year, so we didn’t have enough candles to get through the holiday. I set off this afternoon to remedy the situation.

First stop: CVS. I found Hanukkah pillows, but no candles.

Next, Target. Lots of Hanukkah stuff, including gelt, cards, and tchotchkes, but no candles.

TJ Maxx? Nope.

I finally gave up and went to Pars Kosher Market which had three different varieties of Hanukkah candles. Finally, success!

I only bought one box, though – I’m sure the price will be lower during the after-Hanukkah clearance sales, right?

A Christmas Carol before Hanukkah

Diane and I went to see Silicon Valley Shakespeare’s production of A Christmas Carol at History Park San José this afternoon. The play was mostly performed outside, with the cast and audience walking from building to building as the spirits take Scrooge on his journey through old London. We did go inside for a couple of scenes; here’s Scrooge at his desk in the Bank of Italy building.

The play started and ended outside the Palace Hotel; at the beginning, we saw Marley’s coffin in the street, and at the end, Scrooge saw his own tombstone.

I guess it’s not a spoiler to tell you that there was a happy ending.

I enjoyed the production; they took full advantage of the setting, and even threw in some caroling as we walked through the streets.

We’d never really been to History Park before – I want to go back sometime when they’re open and explore more!

After the play, we came home and lit our menorah for the first night of Hanukkah, then we watched some a capella Hanukkah videos from the Maccabeats and Six13, including our favorite, Candlelight.

Chag Sameach!

Shocked, Shocked!

Diane and I just came home from the Shir Hadash Hanukkah Festival of Fun, where we ran the Dreidel Tournament.

This was the first time the congregation had held an event like this, so we had no idea how many participants to expect; in the end, there were about six kids who played for the championship trophy at one table.  It took nearly an hour for a winner to emerge; we finished just before Havdalah began, so the table was already empty when I took a photo to memorialize the occasion.

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After Havdalah, we had latkes (of course) and salmon (a surprise).  There were drinks, of course, including some seasonal cocktails; I felt compelled to try the “Spinning Dreidel” (Blue Curaçao, Triple Sec, Peach Vodka, and Sprite), which was incredibly sweet.

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Hanukkah doesn’t actually begin until tomorrow night, but the Rabbi and his family are leaving for Puerto Rico in the morning, so we started the celebration early!